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Dr. Viviane Slon

  • Anatomy and Anthropology
אנטומיה ואנתרופולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר


Current position

Senior lecturer, Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

Scientific biography

I am a senior lecturer in the Departments of Anatomy and Anthropology and Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (Israel), and am affiliated with the Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research, where I am the head of the ancient DNA laboratory. My PhD and post-doctoral research on ancient hominin DNA were conducted in the Department of Evolutionary Genetics of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). I have an MSc in Medical Sciences and a BSc in Medical and Life Sciences, both from Tel Aviv University. I am the recipient of the Dan David Prize Scholarship for Young Researchers (2017), the Otto Hahn Medal (2018), the Otto Hahn Award (2018), and the Alon Fellowship (2020).

Academic Appointments

The ancient DNA laboratory at Tel Aviv University - Genetic studies of ancient populations

We study the genetic makeup of prehistoric and proto-historic populations, with a focus on the Levant – a major corridor for migrations throughout human evolution and one of the earliest centres of agriculture in the world. To do so, we implement and pursue the development of state-of-the-art methodology suited to face the challenges of DNA preservation over time in warm climates.

In our laboratory, we strive to recover DNA of ancient individuals both from skeletal remains and from sediments deposited at archaeological sites. The genetic data we obtain is analyzed by comparing it to existing datasets of ancient and present-day genomes world-wide; and contextualized by integrating it with data from other research fields, such as archaeology, physical anthropology, geology and chronometry.

The study of ancient genomes allows to elucidate relationships between populations, infer demographic histories, retrace migrations, reconstruct social structures, search for signs of local adaptation to varying environments, and investigate the effect of past events on our own genomes today.

Awards and Prizes

1) Slon, V., Hershkovitz, I. and Peled, N. (2012), Dyke-Davidoff-Masson Syndrome in a 6,000-year old skull, Neuroradiology 54(12):1413-1415

2) Slon, V., Hershkovitz, I. and Peled, N. (2012), Dyke–Davidoff–Masson syndrome or fibrous dysplasia: Response to a “Letter to the Editor”, Neuroradiology 54(9):1029-1030

3) Slon, V., Nagar, Y., Kuperman, T. and Hershkovitz, I. (2013), A Case of Dwarfism from the Byzantine City Rehovot-in-the-Negev, Israel, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 23: 573-589

4) Cohen, H., Slon, V., May, H., Hershkovitz, I., Peled, E. and Norman, D. (2013), Musculoskeletal wounds characteristic of the Second Lebanon War, Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research 1(2): 14-17

5) Sarig, R., Slon, V., Abbas, J., May, H., Schpack, N., Vardimon, A.D. and Hershkovitz, I. (2013), Malocclusion in Early Anatomically Modern Human: A Reflection on the Etiology of Modern Dental Misalignment, PLoS ONE 8(11): e80771

6) Slon, V., Hershkovitz, I. and May, H. (2014), The Value of Cadaver CT Scans in Gross Anatomy Laboratory, Anatomical Sciences Education 7(1): 80-82

7) Slon, V., Sarig, R., Hershkovitz, I., Khalaily, H. and Milevski, I. (2014), The Plastered Skulls from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Site of Yiftahel (Israel) - A Computed Tomography-Based Analysis, PLoS ONE 9(2): e89242

8) Slon, V., Stein, D., Cohen, H., Medlej, B., Peled, N. and Hershkovitz, I. (2014), Hyperostotic bone disease in a wombat (Vombatus ursinus), Research in Veterinary Science 97(1): 88-95

9) Cohen, H., Sarie, I., Medlej, B., Bocquentin, F., Toledano, T., Hershkovitz, I. and Slon, V. (2014), Trauma to the Skull: A Historical Perspective from the Southern Levant (4300BCE–1917CE), International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 24(6): 722-736

10) Parush, Y., Assaf, E., Slon, V., Gopher, A. and Barkai, R. (2015), Looking for sharp edges: Modes of flint recycling at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, Israel, Quaternary International 361: 61-87

11) Hershkovitz, I., Marder, O., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Yasur, G., Boaretto, E., Caracuta,V., Alex, B., Frumkin, A., Goder-Goldberger, M., Gunz, P., Holloway, R.L., Latimer, B., Lavi, R., Matthews, A., Slon, V., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D., Berna, F., Bar-Oz, G., Yeshurun, R., May, H., Hans, M.G., Weber, G.W. and Barzilai, O. (2015), Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans, Nature 520: 216-219

12) Benazzi, S., Slon, V., Talamo, S., Negrino, F., Peresani, M., Bailey, S.E., Sawyer, S., Panetta, D., Vicino, G., Starnini, E., Mannino, M.A., Salvadori, P.A., Meyer, M., Pääbo, S. and Hublin, J.J. (2015), The makers of the Protoaurignacian and implications for Neandertal extinction, Science 348(6236): 793-796

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13) Cohen, H.*, Slon, V.*, Barash, A., May, H., Medlej, B. and Hershkovitz, I. (2015), Assyrian Attitude Towards Captive Enemies: A 2700-year-old Paleo-forensic Study, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 25(3): 265-280 (* - equally contributing authors)

14) Renaud, G., Slon, V., Duggan, A.T. and Kelso, J. (2015), Schmutzi: estimation of contamination and endogenous mitochondrial consensus calling for ancient DNA, Genome Biology 16: 224

15) Slon, V., Stein, D., Cohen, H., Sella-Tunis, T., May, H. and Hershkovitz, I. (2015), Vertebral hemangiomas: their demographical characteristics, location along the spine and position within the vertebral body, European Spine Journal 24(10): 2189-2195

16) Brown, S., Higham, T., Slon, V., Pääbo, S., Meyer, M., Douka, K., Brock, F., Comeskey, D., Procopio, N., Shunkov, M., Derevianko, A. and Buckley, M. (2016), Identification of a new hominin bone from Denisova Cave, Siberia using collagen fingerprinting and mitochondrial DNA analysis, Scientific Reports 6: 23559

17) Slon, V., Glocke, I., Barkai, R., Gopher, A., Hershkovitz, I. and Meyer, M. (2016), Mammalian mitochondrial capture, a tool for rapid screening of DNA preservation in faunal and undiagnostic remains, and its application to Middle Pleistocene specimens from Qesem Cave (Israel), Quaternary International 398: 210-218

18) Hershkovitz, I., Weber, G.H., Fornai, C., Gopher, A., Barkai, R., Slon, V., Quam, R., Gabel, Y. and Sarig, R. (2016), New Middle Pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel), Quaternary International 398: 148-158

19) Slon, V., Peled, N., Abbas, J., Stein, D., Cohen, H. and Hershkovitz, I. (2016), Vertebral hemangiomas and their correlation with other pathologies, Spine 41(8): E481-488

20) Fu, Q., Posth, C., Hajdinjak, M., Petr, M., Mallick, S., Fernandes, D., Furtwängler, A., Haak, W., Meyer, M., Mittnik, A., Nickel, B., Peltzer, A., Rohland, N., Slon, V., Talamo, S., Lazaridis, I., Lipson, M., Mathieson, I., Schiffels, S., Skoglund, P., Derevianko, A.P., Drozdov, N., Slavinsky, V., Tsybankov, A., Cremonesi, R.G., Mallegni, F., Gély, B., Vacca, E., Morales, M.R., Straus, L.G., Neugebauer-Maresch, C., Teschler-Nicola, M., Constantin, S., Moldovan, O.T., Benazzi, S., Peresani, M., Coppola, D., Lari, M., Ricci, S., Ronchitelli, A., Valentin, F., Thevenet, C., Wehrberger, K., Grigorescu, D., Rougier, H., Crevecoeur, I., Flas, D., Semal, P., Mannino, M.A., Cupillard, C., Bocherens, H., Conard, N.J., Harvati, K., Moiseyev, V., Drucker, D.G., Svoboda, J., Richards, M.P., Caramelli, D., Pinhasi, R., Kelso, J., Patterson, N., Krause, J., Pääbo, S. and Reich, D. (2016), The Genetic History of Ice Age Europe, Nature 534(7606): 200-205

21) Cohen, H., Kugel, C., May, H., Medlej, B., Stein, D., Slon, V., Hershkovitz, I. and Brosh, T. (2016), The impact velocity and bone fracture pattern: forensic perspective, Forensic Science International 266: 54-62

22) Abbas, J., Slon, V., May, H., Peled, N., Hershkovitz, I. and Hamoud, K. (2016), Paraspinal muscles density: a marker for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis?, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 17(1): 422

23) Ezra, D., Masharawi, Y., Salame, K., Slon, V., Alperovitch-Najenson, D. and Hershkovitz, I. (2017), Demographical aspects in cervical vertebral bodies’ size and shape (C3-C7): A skeletal study, The Spine Journal 17(1): 135-142

24) Abbas, J., Slon, V., Stein, D., Peled, N., Hershkovitz, I. and Hamoud, K. (2017), In the quest for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis etiology: the Schmorl's nodes model, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 18(1): 164

25) Slon, V., Hopfe, C., Weiß, C.L., Mafessoni, F., de la Rasilla, M., Lalueza-Fox, C., Rosas, A., Soressi, M., Knul, M.V., Miller, R., Stewart, J.R., Derevianko, A.P., Jacobs, Z., Li, B., Roberts, R.G., Shunkov, M.V., de Lumley, H., Perrenoud, C., Gušić, I., Kućan, Ž., Rudan, P., Aximu-Petri, A., Essel, E., Nagel, S., Nickel, B., Schmidt, A., Prüfer, K., Kelso, J., Burbano, H.A., Pääbo, S. and Meyer. M. (2017), Neandertal and Denisovan DNA from Pleistocene sediments, Science 356(6338): 605-608

• Featured in Science news, podcast and ‘areas to watch’ and in Nature news

26) Douka, K.*, Slon, V.*, Stringer, C., Potts, R., Hübner, A., Meyer, M., Spoor, F., Pääbo, S. and Higham, T. (2017), Direct radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis of the Darra-i-Kur (Afghanistan) human temporal bone, Journal of Human Evolution 107: 86-93 (* - equally contributing authors)

27) Cohen, H., Kugel, C., May, H., Medlej, B., Stein, D., Slon, V., Brosh, T. and Hershkovitz, I. (2017), The effect of impact tool geometry and soft material covering on long bone fracture patterns in children, International Journal of Legal Medicine 131(4): 1011-1021

28) Slon, V., Viola, B., Renaud, G., Gansauge, M.-T., Benazzi, S., Sawyer, S., Hublin, J.-J., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Kelso, J., Prüfer, K., Meyer, M. and Pääbo, S. (2017), A fourth Denisovan individual, Science Advances 3(7): e1700186

29) Cohen, H., Kugel, C., May, H., Medlej, B., Stein, D., Slon, V., Brosh, T. and Hershkovitz, I. (2017), The influence of impact direction and axial loading on the bone fracture pattern, Forensic Science International 277: 197-206

30) Hershkovitz, I., Weber, G.W., Quam, R. Duval, M., Grün, R. Kinsley, L., Ayalon, A. Bar-Matthews, M., Valladas, H., Mercier, N., Arsuaga, J.L., Martinón-Torres, M., Bermúdez de Castro, J.M., Fornai, C., Martín-Francés, L., Sarig, R., May, H., Krenn, V.A., Slon, V., Rodríguez, L., García, R., Lorenzo, C., Carretero, J.M., Frumkin, A., Shahack-Gross, R., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D.E., Cui, Y., Wu, X., Peled, N., Groman-Yaroslavski, I., Weissbrod, L., Yeshurun, R., Tsatskin, A., Zaidner. Y. and Weinstein-Evron, M. (2018), The earliest modern humans outside Africa, Science 359(6374): 456-459

31) Slon, V.*, Mafessoni, F.*, Vernot, B.*, de Filippo, C., Grote, S., Viola, B., Hajdinjak, M., Peyrégne, S., Nagel, S., Brown, S., Douka, K., Higham, T., Kozlikin, M.B., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Kelso, J., Meyer, M., Prüfer, K. and Pääbo, S. (2018), The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father, Nature 561: 113-116 (* - equally contributing authors)

• Cover of Nature. Runner-up as Science’s Breakthrough of the Year 2018. Featured in Nature news, Science news and Nature Reviews Genetics highlights

32) Slon, V. and Hershkovitz, I. (2018), Levantine fossil record, The International Encyclopedia of Biological Anthropology, DOI: 10.1002/9781118584538.ieba0548

33) Douka, K., Slon, V., Jacobs, Z., Bronk Ramsey, C., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Mafessoni, F., Kozlikin, M., Li, B., Grün, R., Comeskey, D., Devièse, T., Brown, S., Viola, B., Kinsley, L., Buckley, M., Meyer, M., Roberts, R.G., Pääbo, S., Kelso, J. and Higham, T. (2019), Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave. Nature 565: 640-644

34) Ezra, D., Slon, V., Kedar, E., Masharawi, Y., Salame, K., Alperovitch-Najenson, D. and Hershkovitz, I. (2019), The Torg ratio of C3-C7 in African-Americans and European-Americans: A skeletal study. Clinical Anatomy 32(1): 84-89

35) Ezra, D., Hershkovitz, I., Salame, K. Alperovitch-Najenson, D. and Slon, V. (2019), Osteophytes in the cervical vertebral bodies (C3-C7) - Demographical perspectives. The Anatomical Record 302(2): 226-231

36) Peyrégne, S., Slon, V., Mafessoni, F., de Filippo, C., Hajdinjak, M., Nagel, S., Nickel, B., Essel, E., Le Cabec, A., Wehrberger, K., Conard, N.J., Kind, C.J., Posth, C., Krause, J., Abrams, G., Bonjean, D., Di Modica, K., Toussaint, M., Kelso, J., Meyer, M., Pääbo, S. and Prüfer, K. (2019), Nuclear DNA from two early Neandertals reveals 80,000 years of genetic continuity in Europe. Science Advances 5(6): eaaw5873

37) Narasimha, V.M, Patterson, N., Moorjani, P., Rohland, N., Bernardos, R., Mallick, S., Lazaridis, I., Nakatsuka, N., Olalde, I., Lipson, M., Kim, A.M., Olivieri, L.M., Coppa, A., Vidale, M., Mallory, J., Moiseyev, V., Kitov, E., Monge, J., Adamski, N., Alex, N., Broomandkhoshbacht, N., Candilio, F., Callan, K., Cheronet, O., Culleton, B.J., Ferry, M., Fernandes, D., Freilich, S., Gamarra, B., Gaudio, D., Hajdinjak, M., Harney, É., Harper, T.K., Keating, D., Lawson, A.M., Mah, M., Mandl, K., Michel, M., Novak, M., Oppenheimer, J., Rai, N., Sirak, K., Slon, V., Stewardson, K., Zalzala, F., Zhang. Z., Akhatov, G., Bagashev, A.N., Bagnera, A., Baitanayev, B., Bendezu-Sarmiento, J., Bissembaev, A.A., Bonora, G.L., Chargynov, T.T., Chikisheva, T., Dashkovskiy, P.K., Derevianko, A., Dobeš, M., Douka, K., Dubova, N., Duisengali. M.N., Enshin, D., Epimakhov, A., Fribus, A.V., Fuller, D., Goryachev, A., Gromov, A., Grushin, S.P., Hanks, B., Judd, M., Kazizov, E., Khokhlov, A., Krygin, A.P., Kupriyanova, E., Kuznetsov, P., Luiselli, D., Maksudov, F., Mamedov, A.M., Mamirov, T.B., Meiklejohn, C., Merrett, D.C., Micheli, R., Mochalov, O., Mustafokulov, S., Nayak, A., Pettener, D., Potts, R., Razhev, D., Rykun, M., Sarno, S., Savenkova, T.M., Sikhymbaeva, K., Slepchenko, S.M., Soltobaev, O.A., Stepanova, N., Svyatko, S., Tabaldiev, K., Teschler-Nicola, M., Tishkin, A.A., Tkachev, V.V., Vasilyev, S., Velemínský, P., Voyakin, D., Yermolayeva, A., Zahir, M., Zubkov, V.S., Zubova, A., Shinde, V.S., Lalueza-Fox, C., Meyer, M., Anthony, D., Boivin, N., Thangaraj, K., Kennett, D.J., Frachetti, M., Pinhasi, R. and Reich, D. (2019), The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia. Science 365(6457): eaat7487

38) Swift, J.A., Bunce, M., Dortch, J., Douglass, K., Faith, J.T., Fellows Yates, J.A., Field, J., Haberle, S., Jacob, E., Johnson, C.N., Lindsey, E., Lorenzen, E.D., Louys, J., Miller, G., Mychajliw, A., Slon, V., Villavicencio, N., Waters, M., Welker, F., Wood, R., Petraglia, M., Boivin, N. and Roberts, P. (2019), Micro-Methods for Megafauna: Novel approaches to the study of Late Quaternary extinctions and their contributions to faunal conservation in the Anthropocene. BioScience 69(11): 877-887

39) Mafessoni, F., Grote, S., de Filippo, C., Slon, V., Kolobova, K.A., Viola, B., Shnaider, S.V., Markin, S.V., Chintalapati, M., Peyregne, S., Skov, L., Skoglund, P., Krivoshapkin, A.I., Derevianko, A.P., Meyer, M., Kelso, J., Peter, B., Prüfer, K. and Pääbo, S. (2020), A high-coverage Neandertal genome from Chagyrskaya Cave. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(26): 15132-15136

40) Romandini, M., Oxilia, G., Bortolini, E., Peyrégne, S., Delpiano, D., Nava, A., Panetta, D., Di Domenico, G., Martini, P., Arrighi, S., Badino, F., Figus, C., Lugli, F., Marciani, G., Silvestrini, S., Menghi Sartorio, J.C., Terlato, G., Hublin, J.-J., Meyer, M., Bondioli, L., Higham, T., Slon, V., Peresani, M. and Benazzi, S. (2020), A late Neanderthal tooth from northeastern Italy. Journal of Human Evolution 147: 102867

41) Braadbaart, F., Reidsma, F.H., Roebroeks, W., Chiotti, L., Slon, V., Meyer, M., Théry-Parisot, I., van Hoesel, A., Nierop, K.G.J., Kaal, J., van Os, B. and Marquer, L. (2020), Heating histories and taphonomy of ancient fireplaces: A multi-proxy case study from the Upper Palaeolithic sequence of Abri Pataud (Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, France). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 33: 102468

42) Zhang, D., Xia, H., Chen, F., Li, B., Slon, V., Cheng, T., Yang, R., Jacobs, Z., Dai, Q., Massilani, D., Shen, X., Wang, J., Feng, X., Cao, P., Yang, M., Yao, J., Yang, J., Madsen, D.B., Han, Y., Ping, W., Liu, F., Perreault, C., Chen, X., Meyer, M., Kelso, J., Pääbo, S. and Fu, Q. (2020), Denisovan DNA in Late Pleistocene sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave on the Tibetan Plateau. Science 370(6516): 584-587

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